The Ducks have opened the 2023 Pac-12 Conference Lacrosse season on the wrong foot, dropping their first four games after a 3 - 2 pre-season record. The Conference has some very talented teams, but the Ducks are beginning to show they can compete at a high level. Although they have failed to secure a win in the Conference season thus far, the Ducks lost by just one goal to California (13 - 12) and just 12 - 9 to Arizona State on the road last Friday. Results against Stanford a week ago and USC Sunday afternoon were less encouraging, each ending with a 10-goal loss. Here is a review of Oregon’s recent Pac-12 action.
Oregon vs California (March 17) - This game was competitive and close throughout. Gabby Cleveland and Alyssa Wright scored 3 goals each to lead the Ducks. The game was tied 9 - 9 at the half as Oregon rallied from an early deficit and outscored the Golden Bears 6 - 4 in the 2nd quarter. Cal cranked up their defensive intensity and regained the advantage in the third quarter to take a 13 - 11 lead going into the final frame. Wright’s third goal with 5:33 left brought the Ducks within one, but Oregon couldn’t find an equalizer before running out of time and dropping the 13 - 12 contest.
Oregon vs #21 Stanford (March 19) - The Ducks rode an outstanding performance by Gabby Cleveland and again got off to a good start. Three Cleveland goals gave Oregon a 3 - 1 lead early. Ultimately the Ducks settled for a 4 - 4 tie after the first quarter as Stanford rallied. Oregon hung tough in the 2nd quarter as Stanford had no answer for Cleveland. She scored again to give Oregon a 5 - 4 lead and the teams traded goals until the half, with Stanford coming out with just an 8 - 7 lead at the break. The Cardinal broke the game open in the third, scoring 6 unanswered goals to lead 14 - 7 and then outscored the Ducks 4 - 1 in the 4th to win 18 - 8. Cleveland netted 6 times for Oregon.
Oregon @ Arizona State (March 24) - The Ducks traveled to Tempe to face the Sun Devils and took a while to warm to the desert climate. ASU jumped on Oregon early, taking a 4 - 0 lead after the first quarter. The Ducks got untracked in the second, as 5 different Ducks scored and cut the deficit to 6 - 5 before the Sun Devils picked up two goals in the last minute to build an 8 - 5 halftime lead. In the third quarter, Oregon rallied to tie the game at 8-all as Morgan McCarthy scored her 19th goal of the season, Cleveland scored her 18th and Haley Taylor scored her 8th. ASU broke down Oregon’s defense again at the end of the third quarter, scoring twice in the last 8 seconds to lead 10 - 8 going into the 4th quarter. Cleveland again got Oregon to within one in the first minute, but ASU would go on to score twice more late in the game to earn the close 12 - 9 victory. Eight different Ducks scored in the tilt.
Oregon @ USC (March 26) - Sunday’s game against the Pac-12-leading Trojans was the only Conference game so far in which Oregon seemed really outmatched. An early goal by Rachel Pallo gave the Ducks a 1 - 0 lead, but USC would then reel off 7 straight in the first and second quarters before Alyssa Wright would score for Oregon to make it 7 - 2. USC would then score 3 more times to lead 10 - 2 at the half. The third quarter was more of the same as the Trojans scored 4 unanswered goals to go into the final stanza up 14 - 2. Taylor Haley and Morgan McCarthy scored for the Ducks in the 4th with the game out of reach. It was McCarthy’s 20th goal of the season and brought the final score to 14 - 4.
Oregon next faces Colorado, which is 3 - 1 in the Conference, at home on April 1.